The film stars John David Washington, who plays Ron Stallworth, the first Black officer in the Colorado Springs Police department. He infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s, did it all over the phone and tricked the Grand Wizard David Duke into trusting him.
Stallworth sat down with Lester Holt on NBC Nightly News to talk about the movie, and how he was able to build a phony report with Duke. He also revealed that Duke recently called him over concerns about his portrayal in the movie.
“He wanted to talk about the fact that he’s concerned about how he’s going to be portrayed in this film,” Stallworth explained with Lee right next to him. “He’s only seen the trailer and in the trailer, it makes him off to be a buffoonish, cartoonish idiot.”
Afterward, Holt asked if Duke really did look foolish in the film.
“In some areas, yeah,” he admitted.” “Spike made him look kind of stupid, but he was stupid in how this whole thing transpired 40 years ago.”
As the real-life story goes, at age 29, Stallworth saw an ad in the Colorado Springs newspaper about joining the Ku Klux Klan and applied. Because as an investigator, he was responsible for dismantling dangerous fringe groups in the area.
At first, it took Stallworth time to convince his bosses that trying to stop the Klan was worth it, and they only came along when they realized the police force could be affected.
“They felt like they couldn’t lose investigators to a bunch of nonsense like men running around in sheets,” Stallworth told The Daily Beast.
He then said the investigation took seven months, and he used his actual speaking voice over the phone to talk to them. But to build a relationship he also used their hateful speech.
“They’re idiots, and they think they’re superior so you just talk like them,” Stallworth explained. “I told them I hated n—-s, spics, Jews, anybody that wasn’t pure Aryan white blood like he and I.”
After “BlacKkKlansman” ended at Cannes, it received a six-minute standing ovation and since, critics who’ve seen the film called it Lee’s best work in years. That’s in stark contrast to his last few releases like 2015’s “Chi-Raq” and 2014’s “Da Sweet Blood of Jesus.”
“BlacKkKlansman” hits theaters on Aug. 10, and you can see Stallworth’s interview with Lester Holt below.